George Herbert: Selected Poems

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George Herbert’s poetry is intense and passionate. The passion is religious, and the depth of feeling and articulation of belief is expressed in vigorous and physical imagery:

Sinne is that presse and vice, which forceth pain
To hunt his cruell food through ev’ry vein.
Love is the balance and counterweight to sacrifice:
Love is that liquour sweet and most divine,
Which my God feels as bloud; but I, as wine.

Feeling is at the heart of Herbert’s poetry; he feels the pain, the sacrifice, the love. He shows us, makes us experience it through his verse. His poetry is a form of prayer. And he glimpses that joy ahead: ‘something understood’.